The Case of the 2 Missing Pilots

Updated: Mar 30

I've been thinking and reading about UFOs pretty much every day for the last nine years. Yikes! You'd think I'd thought and read it all.

But the truth is...the truth is STILL OUT THERE. I still learn about new cases all the time. For example, this one...

On September 8th, 1970, US Air Force captain William Schaffner was flying over the North Sea in England when he noticed a strange object in the sky. Captain Schaffner pursued the unidentified flying object, or "UFO," and reported it to RAF Binbrook, the Royal Air Force base and former WWII Bomber Command where he was stationed. The UFO was tracked on radar, and other pilots were sent out to patrol the area.

But it was too late.

The UFO, and Captain William Schaffner, had disappeared.

William Schaffner's recovered plane
William Schaffner's recovered plane, photo source:

Captain William Schaffner training
Captian William Schaffner training, photo source:

Three months later, Captain Schaffner's plane was found at the bottom of the ocean. According to multiple reports, the Lightning plane XS894 was miraculously intact, and its cockpit closed shut, as if Schaffner never ejected from it. The official flight accident log lists the aircraft as "damaged beyond repair," however, so it's hard to know which account is true.

(Hey, by the way- if you prefer a video breakdown of this case, just watch my latest YouTube video, otherwise keep scrolling...)

Schaffner may not be able to help clarify things for us today, but he did report what he saw on that fateful fall evening.

There have been multiple transcripts "leaked" of the audio recording Schaffner made from his cockpit. On Wikipedia, you won't find any, but on the BBC's news website, you'll find the very end of one, and on a website called Mystery Ink, author "Stevemac" shares a few other transcripts.

In one of the transcripts, Schaffner describes seeing an extremely bright blue ball of light, so bright that it hurt his eyes to look at it. He then noticed a smaller object alongside it, which looked like a soccer ball made of glass!

Was this transcript real? We may never know.

We do know, however, that Captain Schaffner saw a UFO, reported it, and then went missing. We also know that eight years later, the same thing happened to another pilot.

Like Schaffner, Fred Valentich was a pilot who saw a UFO over the ocean shortly before disappearing. Valentich disappeared over the Bass Strait on October 21st, 1978 during a flight to King Island.

pilot Frederick Valentich
pilot Frederick Valentich, photo Source:

According to air traffic control transcripts, just prior to Valentich's disappearance, he reported seeing four mystery lights hovering around, and seemingly playing a game with each other. Suddenly, a strange "staccato" noise was heard, and communications were shut off (click "play" in the video below to hear the noise):

That was the last time anyone heard from Valentich. Or saw him.

There were other witnesses in the area who saw a UFO in the sky that day. Like Roy Manifold, who took a photo of an unknown, dark object hovering over the ocean:

UFO over ocean, photo taken same time as Fred Valentich's sighting
UFO over ocean, photo taken same time as Fred Valentich's sighting, photo source:

Also, allegedly a farmer saw a flying disc hovering in the sky - with a plane attached to it! The farmer is said to have jotted down the plane's registration number, "VH-DSJ," which ended up being the same registration number associated with Valentich's plane!

plane attached to flying saucer
plane attached to flying saucer, artistic rendering of witness account:

Valentich was a younger 20-year-old pilot who was curious about UFOs, and was known to be adventurous while flying (he flew into a cloud on two different occasions!), and so some skeptics accused him of faking his sighting and disappearance. That theory was put to rest, though, when the Australian government ended up releasing hundreds of top-secret documents, which showed that Valentich did not fake the plane crash, and that the AU government had considered the UFO theory.

Fred Valentich memorial plaque
Fred Valentich memorial plaque

Just a few months after the 1978 UFO sighting and disappearance Fred Valentich, nearby in New Zealand, the "Kaikoura Lights" were witnessed by many pilots, who described lights of various shapes and sizes surrounding them.

And in fact, pilot UFO sightings go way back before the 70s. UFOs were so often seen by pilots during World War II that they were given a nickname, "foo fighters."

"foo fighters" ufos
"foo fighters" ufos, photo source unknown

To this day, pilots are some of the most credible UFO eyewitnesses.

It was only last month that an American Airlines pilot made national headlines after seeing a cigar UFO outside their cockpit window!

What do you think of the mysterious pilot UFO sightings and disappearances? Is it possible that Captain William Schaffner and pilot Fred Valentich were abducted by aliens? Or where they just young pilots who misidentified something in the sky before tragically crashing? Will we ever truly solve these "missing persons" cases? Let me know what you think in the comments.